22 Jun 2004

EU representative in PNG says the government's planning office is not "slack and inefficient"

3:06 pm on 22 June 2004

Confusion reigns over whether or not planning and statistics officials in Papua New Guinea failed to submit figures on export earnings, two years running, which meant the government was unable to draw down 44-million US dollars of European Union funds.

The Post-Courier newspaper reported the Port Moresby EU office as describing the government's planning office as "slack and inefficient".

It also quoted the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, as also saying the planning process was "so inefficient" that the country is in danger of losing the funding.

But the first secretary of the EU office, Lindsay Jones, says the necessary statistics have been submitted.

"They have supplied statistics and the proposal is still being considered in Brussels at the moment. We're working very hard to build up the capacity of the planning office here in Port Moresby to work with us."

Lindsay Jones says any weaknesses the EU has identified in PNG administration is typical of young independent countries which do not have a large pool of highly-skilled personnel.